Special Education at Overstone Park School
Pupils with special educational needs achieve success at Overstone Park School by reaching their full potential. We accept pupils who are on the Autistic spectrum, pupils with Aspergers syndrome, ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and emotional behavioural difficulties. The school currently offers a variety of learning opportunities.
We are pupil-focused, providing children with a personalised education and care programme tailored to meet their unique needs. High priority is given to providing an appropriate learning environment and curriculum in which creativity; independence and acquisition of learning skills thrive.
Working in close partnership with parents and carers is an essential part of our culture as we recognise that parents know their child best. Parents are always welcome at the school and the experienced, dedicated and well qualified staff members are always ready to listen, give support and provide reports on each child’s progress.
Education and Learning
The facilities and resources within the school are for specific groupings of pupils. One to one teaching and support is given if this is required. This means that they can have an education personalised to their unique needs within a larger school context. The benefit of this approach is that the pupils and young people have a consistent environment and staffing which can then be built on into the wider school environment as appropriate.
There is a strong emphasis on a multi-professional approach to teaching and learning. The school uses a variety of approaches according to each pupil’s needs. Special emphasis is given to supporting pupils by visual reinforcement, for example helping them through transitions with the aid of visual timetables. The school uses TEACCH, PECS, MAKATON Sign Language and some aspects of behaviour modification as appropriate to each individual.
The curriculum is holistic and inclusive, meeting the needs of the whole child with respect to their physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual development. It includes the seven areas of learning required by the regulations for independent schools: linguistic; mathematical; scientific; technological; human and social; physical; and aesthetic and creative. Overstone Park School has regard to the National Curriculum and works to ensure that its curriculum is broad, balanced and is relevant to each individual’s needs and interests with emphasis on progression in all the main areas of learning. This develops young people as individuals and as future members of society.
There are daily English lessons which include speaking and listening, reading, writing and spelling. Where appropriate, the curriculum follows the National Strategy guidance. Literacy is promoted right across the curriculum and during out of class hours, it is supported by the school’s total communication approach.
Mathematics is taught daily with an emphasis on practical and functional mathematics such as the four mathematical functions, time, money and measurement. The acquisition of skills is reinforced through practical activities such as shopping, cooking and using pocket money.
Taught to pupils up to 16 years old, and largely based around practical activities which help pupils understand the underlying concepts. In the early years, the focus is upon everyday science and the natural world around us. This develops into the more formal study of life processes, living things, materials and their properties, physical processes and investigation.
Often using visits, real life experiences and topics that combine history with other subjects, Overstone Park School helps its pupils to understand past events, their order and the passage of time in relation to their own lives, and others in past and current times. Starting with the imaginary world of legends, stories and fables leading on to ancient civilisations and eventually the history of the modern world.
The emphasis here is on developing and understanding of the human and physical features of the environment. It starts with the experiences of the child, i.e. the home and school environment expanding to an understanding of the local, then regional and then global geography.
Modern foreign language
As appropriate, French is taught with an emphasis on speaking and experiencing another culture and is supported by visual and ICT aids. This programme can be extended if it meets an individual’s needs and interests.
Art is used extensively, both in class and through art therapy, teaching pupils to create 2D and 3D pieces of work, whilst developing fine motor skills. An artistic and creative approach is incorporated into all subjects including, painting, modelling, drawing and handwork.
Design and Technology
Pupils are taught to use a variety of basic tools in a safe environment to experiment with planning and making. Food technology plays an important role as not only is it highly motivating, it also helps prepare Overstone’s pupils for adult life.
Movement is vital to promote health and learning. A range of PE activities is available, including dance, football, aerobics, athletics and swimming. Additional PE activities are available through the extended day and after school clubs.
Music plays an important role in the life of children at Overstone, whether through class lessons in singing and making music or listening and responding to music through therapy.
Religious education (RE)
RE promotes an understanding of different world religions and an appreciation of both moral and spiritual dimensions that affect both behaviour and relationships.
Information and Communication Technology
Pupils have the opportunity to engage with multimedia computers, touch screens, word processors, digital cameras and scanners to support the development of pupils’ ICT capability. Extensive programmes are available to enhance emerging literacy and numeracy skills as well as ‘just for fun’.
Personal, social and health education and citizenship
PSHE is integrated into all other subjects taught, but is also taught discretely within the framework “Transforming ourselves, empowering each other: a whole school approach to advocacy, power sharing, intimacy, sexuality, relationships and the prevention of abuse”. This includes careers information and guidance, citizenship and sex education. The sex education programme focuses on teaching appropriate behaviours linked to identifying and coping with a range of developing emotions and feelings.
Aims of the school
To provide high quality education especially for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Aspergers Syndrome and a variety of Special Educational needs by focusing on their specific needs, capabilities and aspirations.
- To provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum which has regard to the National Curriculum.
- To provide appropriate social and leisure activities for those pupils who have a residential place (when catered for).
- To promote the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, cognitive and physical development of pupils.
- To create trusting and valued relationships with not only the pupils, but also their immediate and extended family and friends.
Every child is an individual and has a right to be treated with respect and dignity by everyone. We believe that all children can learn and make progress, and find school an exciting and interesting experience. All individual education and behaviour programmes stem from the child’s Statement of Special Educational Needs and are tailored to reflect the age and ability of the child.
Overstone Park supports and conforms to the Every Child Matters, Change for Children agenda and the SEN code of practice. The aim is for every child whatever their background and circumstances, to have the support they need to:
- Be healthy.
- Stay safe.
- Enjoy and achieve.
- Make a positive contribution.
- Achieve economic well being.
In order to do this, Overstone Park provides a safe, stimulating and caring environment, high staff ratios and the advantages of an experienced multi-disciplinary team. It also has a strong commitment to work in partnership with parents and values their contribution.
On admission to Overstone Park School a baseline assessment is undertaken and from that, a Provision Map and an Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP) are developed. Teachers continually evaluate work and record progress. Assessment for learning at Overstone Park is a continuous, day-to-day, formative assessment that happens when staff and children interact with each other during the teaching and learning process. The impact becomes evident in children’s responses and in what they understand, know, can do and need to do next. A key aspect of his is the involvement of pupils in planning their own learning and assessing their achievements.
Overstone Park is a specialist provision for children and young people who have been diagnosed with major difficulties typical of those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, as:
- Language and communication.
- Social interaction.
- Repetitive behaviour, imagination and/or rigidity of thought.
- Whilst many children may have additional needs, such as epilepsy, learning difficulties and other related conditions.
Criteria for admission
- The child must have a Education, Health & Care Plan or be in the process of having this put in place.
- The child’s placement needs to be supported by the referring Local Authority (LA) who will, in most cases, provide appropriate fees. Parents may also pay school fees independently.
- The child’s parents/carers must be prepared to work in partnership with the school to promote their child’s learning in all aspects of development.
- The Principal must be satisfied that the school can meet the child’s needs.
- The Principal is responsible for ensuring an appropriate gender, ability and age balance and will admit when an appropriate place becomes available. Travel distance from home will also be taken into account.
Procedure for admission
In the first instance, parents will be invited to meet with the Principal to discuss their child’s needs and the facilities available at Overstone Park. Should they then wish for the school to be considered, parents should formally approach the LA to request that admission procedures be initiated.
At the request of the LA, the school will arrange for an assessment visit to meet the child, which is followed up with a report to the LA indicating whether the school can meet the child’s needs. The school will ask the LA at this stage if they are willing to consider a placement, including details of fees and contractual arrangements. The school will also indicate when a vacancy is likely to be available.
If the LA agrees to support the placement, the school will add the child’s name to its admissions waiting list, or if an appropriate vacancy exists, admit the child as soon as it is practicable.
Overstone Park intends to be flexible with fees according to each individual child’s needs and is willing to negotiate where either a child’s needs are less severe, or equally where additional needs are identified that will require extra resources.
Safety and Care
Child protection and safeguarding
All children are vulnerable to abuse, particularly those with special needs and disabilities. Every effort is made when recruiting staff to ensure they are appropriately qualified and suitable to work with vulnerable children. All staff members undergo robust checks of their identity and qualifications, and a check with the Disclosure & Barring Service prior to confirmation of their post. It is the duty of each member of staff to protect the wellbeing of each child and young person.
Clear procedures are in place for reporting any issues of concern. Staff members have a professional duty to share information about safeguarding concerns with other professionals and must act following the local interagency Safeguarding Board’s guidelines.
Training in child protection is given to all staff as part of their induction, and is followed up with further and regular refresher courses. A full Safeguarding Policy detailing procedures at Overstone Park is made available to all parents.
Care and control
Some pupils and young people at Overstone Park have challenging behaviour in some form or another. Behaviour management is tailored to meet each individual’s needs and there is close collaboration between staff groups to ensure a consistency of approach. Programmes are devised with the help of our psychological support team and are regularly discussed with parents. Pupils are given clear boundaries in a kind and firm manner, using praise and reinforcement of appropriate behaviour as the main tools in our positive approach to care and control. Sanctions are used rarely and always recorded in the incident book.
All staff receives training in the management of challenging and inappropriate behaviour using the Team Teach strategies. Restraint is used as a last resort and only when a child is in danger of hurting themselves, other children or adults, or causing excessive damage to the school premises. Procedures for managing behaviour are clearly laid down, in line with government guidelines. A record is kept of each incident in the school office. Additional information on Team Teach and our practice is available on request.
On very rare occasions, the Principal may exclude a pupil if there is an unacceptable risk of danger to themselves, other pupils, staff, or of damaging property to such an extent that the pupil cannot be managed safely within the school environment or within available resources. Exclusion is a matter of last resort. A full exclusion policy and procedure is available from the school office.
School security and off site safety
The safety and well being of the pupils and young people at Overstone Park is of paramount importance and site security is fundamental. Staffing ratios are high, policies and procedures thorough, and staff work vigilantly at all times. The spacious site is secure. All visitors are required to report to the school office, sign in and then sign out at the end of their stay. The houses will have key coded entry pads for access to increase security. All off-site trips are risk assessed and led by experienced staff.
Examinations & Transition
Pupils with Special Educational Needs are given the opportunity to access courses of study and subsequent examinations for BTEC, GCSE, Functional Skills & Entry Level qualifications.
The school will assist any pupil moving on a new school placement or post 16 placement via transition and/or career development plans.
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